Jared Leto will not portray Hugh Hefner in the biopic that was assumed to be directed by Brett Ratner. Playboy Enterprises said its involvement with Ratner on the film is “on hold” in light of the most recent scandal involving 48-year-old Ratner. The Hollywood exec is the most recent to be accused of sexual misconduct and harassment in the entertainment industry.
On Wednesday, a representative for the Oscar-winning actor said in a statement that he was never attached to the Hugh Hefner film.
“Jared Leto is not and was not attached to a Brett Ratner directed Hugh Hefner film, nor will he be working with him in the future.”
The company concluded that earlier reports were incorrect and not confirmed by his representatives.
On Wednesday, six women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge, spoke out against Ratner in an article published by the Los Angeles Times. Munn said she visited the movie set of After the Sunset, and it was at this Ratner-directed film that he allegedly masturbated in front of her.
A Playboy Enterprises spokesperson revealed to Entertainment Weekly that the company was “troubled” upon learning about the accusations against Ratner.
“We find this kind of behavior completely unacceptable. We are putting all further development of our projects with RatPac Entertainment on hold until we are able to review the situation further.”
Ratner is a longtime power player in Hollywood and is known for directing the Rush Hour series and producing movies like Horrible Bosses and The Revenant. Ratner previously told the Hollywood Reporter that Jared Leto, who he referred to as “his old friend,” would star in the upcoming Hugh Hefner project.
“Jared is an old friend… When he heard I got the rights to Hef’s story, he told me, ‘I want to play him. I want to understand him.’ And I really believe Jared can do it. He’s one of the great actors of today.”
The Hefner project was said to be in early development and is one Ratner has wanted to direct for over a decade. According to People, the announcement of Leto’s casting came a week after Hugh Hefner died at the age of 91 years old.
Marty Singer, in a statement to the Los Angeles Times, denied the specific allegations. Ratner’s attorney said “no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”
Following Munn’s allegations, Henstridge revealed to the Los Angeles Times that when she was 19 years old, she was forced to perform oral sex on Ratner in his New York apartment. She said the act occurred after watching a movie with a group of friends. According to People magazine, Henstridge alleged that when she made an attempt to leave, Ratner blocked the doorway and began touching himself.
“He strong-armed me in a real way… He physically forced himself on me. At some point, I gave in and he did his thing.”
According to New York Daily News, actresses Jaime Ray Newman and Katharine Towne have also claimed that Ratner made unwanted advances to them while on a plane and at a party.
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